by Mike Aux-Tinee.
Several years ago, I was reading an article about a writer who became disillusioned with his job, quit, and moved from the east coast to the west coast. Up to that point, I was right along with him (I had a job that I was not excited about either.) But where he lost me was what he did with his things. They were not packed in boxes and trucked across the country. Instead, he sold what he could and rest was donated to charity. All he took along were some clothes, a few personal items and that was about it. He made the decision to change his life and to live with less – a lot less and become a minimalist. There was more to the story and what it means to be a minimalist. I had only tripped across the tip of the iceberg.
I did not understand was why he wanted to shed the American Dream and everything else that goes along with it. I thought he was crazy because it’s what everyone does. The relentless pursuit of the American Dream, as we are told, will bring us happiness.
As I continued to read about minimalism, I discovered there were more people doing the same thing to one degree or another. And this confused me. How can this person claim to be a minimalist if they were not following the exact same path as all the others? The problem (my problem), was not being flexible in the application of minimalism. Once I scaled back and took a broader view, I found everyone was doing the same things, more or less. What I discovered, is that there are countless and different ways to be a minimalist.
To be a minimalist, there are no hard fast rules. But there are the general guidelines or principles to follow and here is what I’ve discovered:
- Be debt free or close to it.
- Downsize your life.
- Reduce consumption.
- Establish and pursue passions and interests.
Afterwards, it’s however you wish to live your life – as a minimalist. With that said, in addition to working on the above, I want to share what it means to me to be a minimalist.
- I live to travel and explore.
- It’s about quality over quantity.
- Personal growth.
- To be Mike and nothing more, nothing less.
I don’t think I will ever cross a finish line, after all this is not a race. But rather this is a life long journey. Being a minimalist is something that I need to work on every day and try to keep what’s important to me front and center.
One last thing I’d like to point out, no one is going to point their finger at you and say, “You’re not a real minimalist!” So work on the commonalities and then decide for yourself how to play out the rest.
I’d like to hear what you do to be a minimalist!